• Alaska Airlines' Boeing 737 aircraft experienced a recurring mechanical issue, resulting in two diversions during a single flight to Seattle.
  • The first diversion occurred due to an electrical issue and the second diversion happened after the same warning light reappeared in the cockpit.
  • Flight diversions can occur for various reasons such as bad weather, technical issues, medical emergencies, or safety concerns, and pilots choose suitable airports for landing based on the situation.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft was forced to divert on two occasions due to the recurrence of the same mechanical issue, a report by Travel Pulse revealed. The pilots landed safely at Sacramento International Airport (SMF).

The flight details

Experiencing not just one but two diversions during a single flight is an unwelcome scenario with potentially significant implications for airlines and passengers alike. On July 20, the airline's Boeing 737-900, bearing registration N320AS, was en route from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) when the aircraft encountered a mechanical issue.

The 19.9-year-old aircraft left Los Angeles at 12:35 PM local time for its approximate two-hour and 15-minute flight to Seattle, according to However, due to an electrical issue, the aircraft diverted to Sacramento halfway through the flight.

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 taking off
Photo: Markas Mainka/Shutterstock

According to the report, Alaska Airlines provided reassurance to passengers that the mechanical issue had been resolved following the first diversion. In a statement to Anchorage Daily News (ADN), an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said:

"The crew experienced a mechanical indicator and followed standard procedures to divert to SMF. Maintenance met the flight on the ground (and) fixed the issue."

However, en route to Seattle, the identical warning light reappeared in the cockpit upon departing from Sacramento, indicating the persistence of the same mechanical problem. The pilots had to make the decision to return to Sacramento.

Flightradar24 showed the aircraft landing a second time at Sacramento Airport shortly before 5:30 PM local time. Simple Flying has asked Alaska Airlines for a comment but did not receive a reply at the time of publication. No injuries have been reported on either of the diversions.

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What happens when an aircraft diverts?

Flight diversions can happen for a variety of reasons, and although never desirable, they may not be too disruptive if planned well. Flight diversions usually occur due to bad weather, technical issues with the aircraft, medical issues onboard, unruly passengers, safety, or other concerns.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 N307AS
Photo: Vincenzo Pace/Simple Flying

When a diversion is required, the pilot's first task is to select the appropriate airport for the diversion. The choice of landing destination has a substantial impact on the management of the diversion. Airlines aim to plan diversions to airports where they have an established presence or, at the very least, access to essential services.

For some emergencies, though, the aircraft will need to land as soon as possible. In this case, a plane can land at any suitable airport that can handle the size and weight of the aircraft.

If you want to know more, here is a complete Simple Flying guide on flight diversions.

Sources: ADN, Travel Pulse,